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Published Date: 29 June 2010
Dr Rachel Perkins, Director of Quality Assurance and User Experience at South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust, has been awarded an OBE in this year's Queen's Birthday Honours for her work in mental health.
Rachel's commitment to mental health services stretches over 28 years, 23 of which have been at this Trust. Within both the NHS and through voluntary work, Rachel has significantly influenced the development of mental health services at a local, national and international level, becoming one of the most eminent experts in mental health, receiving numerous awards for her groundbreaking work and speaking at countless events.
"This is a really great honour, but it does not reflect my work alone," said Rachel.
"I am deeply committed to enabling people with mental health conditions to rebuild their lives and in particular to gain jobs and pursue their careers. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of staff and service users at South West London and St Georges Mental Health NHS Trust, over 600 people every year find work and many others are able to study and take up volunteering. So the award is very much theirs as well as mine."
Rachel pioneered the development of nationwide employment programmes to help support service users returning to work. Evaluations have shown that these programmes have significantly improved employment opportunities for people with mental health problems and have been commended nationally and internationally as examples of good practice and replicated in many places in the UK and beyond.
Most recently she has influenced the guiding philosophy and vision of the Trust through pioneering the adoption of recovery-focused practice within the organisation treatment and support directed towards helping people with mental health problems to make the most of their lives, become experts in their own self-care and access to those opportunities that all citizens should expect.
Rachel has also enthusiastically contributed to the development of mental health services within the voluntary sector. She was a founding member and Chair of the Women and Mental Health Network in the UK and is the Vice Chair of Rethink, the country's largest mental health membership charity, among many other voluntary commitments.